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"It's everybody's history" | Kewanee celebrates Black History Month

First Congregational Church hosted the annual 'Black History Month Extravaganza'.

KEWANEE, Ill. — Many Kewanee community members gathered as one on Sunday, Feb. 19 to pay tribute to trailblazers of our past, for black history month.

It was the annual 'Black History Month Extravaganza', held at First Congregational Church in Kewanee, Illinois. The event included speakers, video presentations, music, and appearances from elected officials.

"Not only do we learn information, but we're going to have a good time," Chairman of community black history committee, Etta LaFlora said.

The event was to pay tribute to African Americans who fought for equal rights, and those of whom, had an impact on Kewanee. One name in particular, discussed during the event, Walter Bailey, who was born in Kewanee in 1882. He graduated from Kewanee High School in 1900, and the the University of Illinois in 1904. He was the first African American graduate of the colleges Architectural school.

"During Black History Month, we really like to highlight and inform people on what a lot of African Americans has done to benefit our society," LaFlora said.

News 8 also spoke with Anita Blanks, a committee member and Kewanee resident.

"It's everybody's history. And I think that it should be considered American history," Blanks said.

The Wethersfield High School choir performed at the event. 

"We enjoy the singing and the songs from the past and then some more current," LaFlora said.

The event also included announcing the winners of an essay contest, hosted by the City of Kewanee's Commission on Human Relations. Students in grades 4-6 and grades 7 - 8 wrote essay's pertaining to Black History Month. The winners received $50 savings bonds from the Commission.

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